Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Index

Nathan and I spend the morning doing a couple climbs in Leavenworth at Icicle Creek, but quickly realize that even if we want to climb, or bodies are dead tired from the epic yesterday, still we get in two good pitches (i think?) before succumbing to Heidelburger, in Leavenworth.

Greatly replenished we head back over the hill to Index, and after even more lounging manage to get in 4 more pitches before dark.

Bomber doing his part in the lounging.



On the far left of the popular Lower Main Wall is the Great Northern Slab, the only place at Index with moderates. Since we werent terribly gung-ho this afternoon we did a 4 pitch meandering up this nice slab to get a feel for the rock.

I led a short 5.8 fist crack to a ledge. Nathan leads up a tricky 8 tips crack, and decides that the flared offwidth chimney above is not to his liking. I step around left and viola! a perfect easy handcrack appears. Above this Nathan leads on easy ground to the top of the slab.

It is rather heavily forested in Index, and you dont really realize where you are until you get high enough off the ground to get a look around.

Atop the 3rd pitch I finally turned around and noticed the vista. Mt. Index, and Mt Persies rise strikingly from the valley with the glacier blue/green Skykomish river running below.

Mt Index is only 6000 feet tall, but considering the valley where we were in Index is only at 500 feet it is certainly precipitous.



On the way back down we notice Breakfast of Champions, a perfect 10a handcrack approached on the wall to the right of the slab. Unfortunately we would never get back to climb this, but it makes me happy knowing such a perfect handcrack is there waiting for me.

The next morning we go over to do GM (which stands for General Maintenance) over at the right side of the Lower Wall called The Country.

Clearly we have too much gear, but the rock feels like we are in Yosemite, so we might as well have the rack to match!



The first pitch is either a 3rd class scramble or a 10c slab. Since the slab is unprotected to the belay but looks fun Nathan goes around to set up a toprope on the slab.

Turns out neither of the ratings are very accurate. The 3rd Class scramble feels more like 5.5, and the 10c ends up feeling like 11+



Nathan at the P1 belay.

The second pitch leads up an ok 5.8 corner past a scary move protected by a pin, then left to a bolted belay below a monster wide flake.

Off the belay you go up some blocks and try and get established underclinging the flake. Me just getting to the goods.



Me struggling (loudly if i remember correctly) through the 9 flake and up onto the belay ledge.



Nathan took some neat shots from below the flake looking up all the way through to the belay. Those are some big cams! glad i brought the 4.5



From the belay our route GM continued up and right along a wide flake, but an incredible 10 handcrack continued above, P3 of Heart of the Country. It looked too good so we had to do it.

Nathan just off the belay on Heart of the Country.



Nathan milks the rest and points out the view before the crux section over a bulge.



A nice ledge at the top of the pitch and I am trying to remember what the topo says about this next bit. Oh yes, 10a to the ledge and 11a all the way to the top. Its my lead and the crack looks to be the right size, just through a bulge.

Do it with one hang, but i could have, should have punched through. Neat 11a trad! at Index which is supposedly sandbagged!

We rap off with one double rappel! When we did Outer Space it felt short, but was 1200 feet of climbing, and this felt huge and was only 200 feet tall!

At the bottom Nathan tries the "10c" slab again, and eventually gets it clean, at the expense of much finger skin.

We go back around and up into a gully with a cliff called the inner lump. At the top of the gully is a clean wall amongst all the moss, and a climb called Toxic Shock.

Not a great shot, but Toxic Shock either takes the 9 lieback or the 5.8 double cracks to the midpoint, and then the crack in the left wall at 5.9 to the top. The double thin cracks up top are Even Steven, an 11b.



My lead up the double cracks on P1



Starting up the perfect hands on P2



Perfect hands will put a smile on anyones face!



At the top it was trivial to go set up a TR on Even Steven, which we both got with one fall. A super line up thin twin finger locks. This actually felt like 11b, technical and pretty sustained. a super line.




Friday nite I had to be in Vancouver to meet Gil, but we had time to do one more line at Index before heading out. Tried to find RacerX, supposedly a nice slab climb, but the approach pitches at 5.8R/X had overgrown and looked horrible and nasty.

Did get a neat picture crossing the tracks through.



The last line we ended up doing we thought was Princely Ambitions, but looking at the topo now, and it was definitely Japanese Gardens 10a.

Either way a great climb, with a variety of moves, from a balancy transition low on the route to a powerful jam flake up higher.



All in all a great couple days, and the best pure climbing so far. Maybe i can convince Nathan to come back up to Squamish and do the Grand Wall

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